The application process can be as stressful for students as the day before an exam, sometimes, even more so.
While there are several points to keep in mind to ensure that your application is the best it can be, there are a few things every student should avoid while working on their application.
Here is your checklist for what not to do:
- Not making sure that you meet curriculum requirements. A university will often list out certain requirements you need to match in order to be eligible for a course. For example, some courses may need you to take certain subjects. Make sure you match these criteria or your application will be a waste of time and resources.
- Not reading the application instructions carefully. Universities often have specific guidelines that cater to their expectations of an application, and if you want them to seriously consider your’s, you should read and follow these instructions.
- Providing generic reasons for selecting a particular university. Oftentimes, students do not mention a clear-cut reason for wanting to pursue a particular course at a particular university. Many faculty members reading these essays are turned off by this.
- Not elaborating on extracurricular activities. In addition to the activity field, students can also elaborate on their extracurricular activities in the ‘additional information’ section. Faculty members have expressed their preference for quality over quantity, so a student that conveys their passion for fewer activities will probably score more points with faculty members than students with a large and impersonal list of activities.
- Attaching a lengthy resume. Most students opting to study further do not have a large list of achievements or qualifications, and some professors get turned off by students who have a larger resume than they do.
- Writing an unoriginal essay. Several times, students will refer to a sample essay and use that very same essay, with tweaks here and there, to make it their own. This is a big mistake. Your essay should be an expression of who you are. Faculty members want to get to know you.
- Repeating certain details in essays. Some students will often repeat certain qualities or achievements they deem worthy of earning them a place at a particular university. Faculty members reading your essay are usually paying attention to every detail, and emphasizing on the same quality or achievement is a waste of space; space that could be utilized to express other aspects of yourself.
- Being self-centered in your essay. You may want to sell yourself and your achievements to the university you hope to join, but nobody likes a narcissist. You can convey your achievements in a less offensive way. So rather than tooting your own flute, try to give credit where it’s due. Thanking a teacher or parent or mentor will not hurt.
- Using words you aren’t very familiar with. Words that don’t fit the context will turn off your reader.
- Using poor grammar and not punctuating when required. This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you aren’t confident about your writing or proofreading skills, you can always get an editor to make sure that everything you’ve written is grammatically sound and well punctuated.
- Not showcasing your ambition. Ambition and vision are qualities that faculty members appreciate. You can showcase these qualities by discussing a well-thought out plan for the future that will bring your vision to life.
- Writing a common essay for every university. Sending in an application to one university with another university’s name written in the essay – Yes, this has happened! Also, most faculty members reading your essay will know when you’ve written a one-size-fits-all essay. They prefer students who have done their research on a particular university and clearly expresses why they want to be a part of their university.
- Leaving out vital information such as your socioeconomic background, disabilities if any, if you have a parent that is an addict, if you come from an ethnic minority, etc. Several universities use these factors to properly assess and gauge a student’s eligibility for their course.
- Sending in the application at the last minute. As universities track applications, sending an application late may indicate that the student is lazy or that the university wasn’t the student’s first choice.
- Sending in low test scores to a school that doesn’t ask for these test scores. An example of this is with SAT scores. Not every school requires students to send them the scores of every SAT attempt, so sending in your best score would be the best bet.
- Last minute letters of recommendation. Providing your professor or employer with ample time to write a letter of recommendation for you is a good idea.
- Forgetting to proofread. This is an essential step in every application process. Make sure every bit of your application has been proofread. This includes essays, letters of recommendation, CVs, and everything in between.
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You may also want to check out our article on SOP / Essay made easy: How your SOP Could Save your Application from the Trash Can
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